Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Thomas A. Kochan,
and John Calhoun Wells
Since the passage of the National La- bor Relations Act in 1935, collective bargaining has been the primary means by which U.S. workers can collectively negotiate terms and conditions of em- ployment with their employer. Currently, more than 100,000 contracts are in effect, covering approximately 9 million workers and their employers in the private sec- tor.1 (An additional 8 million workers are covered under labor agreements in the public sector.) Despite the importance of collective bargaining, the number of workers covered under bargaining con- tracts has steadily declined for nearly four decades.